Gwar Have Signed Up Thousands of Bone Marrow Donors After Guitarist’s Cancer Diagnosis
In late October, Gwar guitarist Mike Derks, better known to fans as BälSäc the Jaws ‘o Death, revealed he had been diagnosed with myelofibrosis, an uncommon type of chronic leukemia (cancer of the bone marrow). A bone marrow transplant is his best chance of survival — those with the disease who get that treatment have only a 15% mortality rate — but he’d yet to be matched with a donor, in large part because so few bone people are registered as marrow donors and the chances of a bone marrow match are very low to begin with.
The silver lining to this sad story is that the band has partnered with Love Hope Strength, an organization that works with musicians to build the national bone marrow registry, and their efforts have been wildly successful.
According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Love Hope Strength has signed up more than 3,000 Gwar fans to the national bone marrow donor registry on the band’s current tour. “They’re the Number 1 band we’ve had on our virtual drive,” said Rob Rushing, Love Hope Strength’s national tour manager. “We’ve partnered with Ozzy Osbourne, all kinds of bands, and GWAR right now has more people signed up for the virtual drive than anyone else by far.”
Fans at Gwar shows can swab their cheeks so their DNA can be recorded into a database at the national bone marrow registry. Later, if their DNA is a match for someone in need, they’ll receive a phone call asking if they’re willing to donate.
“It’s crazy specific,” Rush said. “Because you have to match them close enough on the DNA chain that their body accepts it, but there be just enough difference that the body starts making new clean blood cells based on the donor’s DNA so it’s clean — new fresh cells that kill the cancer.” Rush elaborated that only roughly one out of every 100 people who sign up for the registry will ever get a call for a match.
Registering is easy: you can start the process online! Sign up for the national bone marrow donor registry here; it’ll only take a few seconds. You could literally save someone’s life.
[via Rock Feed]